Thirumalai Kumaraswamy Temple, Panpoli – Legends
Swayambu Murugan Idol:
Once there was only Vel – the weapon of Lord Muruga, in the temple. The priest of the Temple, Poovan Pattar was performing pujas for the Vel. While he was relaxing under a tamarind tree after the puja one day, Lord Muruga appeared in his dream and said that the hill belonged to him and that he was in the form of an idol at Kottaithiradu, a little away from the place. Lord asked the priest to go to the place where ants would be moving in a line and that he was there.
The priest informed the king. The idol was taken from the pit and installed. The temple was built by the Pandala king. Generally, people believe that Aiyappan temple alone was built by the king of Pandala while he built this Tirumalai temple too at the border of Kerala. Places known for Aiyappan worship as Ariangavu, Achankoil and Kulathupuzhai are around this place.
Place for performing Darpans to departed ancestors:
It is believed that Pithrus (departed ancestors) live on the steps of the hill. Hence, performing Darpans to them at this place would greatly benefit the following generations.
Poovan Pattar, the priest of this temple went to a place called Kottai Thiradu and dug a place pointed by Lord Muruga. While digging, the crow bar touched the nose of the idol and slightly damaged it which also added beauty to the idol. Seeing this, the people of the place called the Lord Mookkan. Mookku in Tamil means nose. The tradition of naming the children as Mookan, Mookkayee and Mookkammal arose from this name of the Lord in Tirumalai Murugan temple in Thirunelveli district.
Also, if children are born dead consecutively in a family, they take the vow to bore the nose the child and name it as Mookan so that the child would survive. Even male children would be wearing nose ring here till the age of 15. This ceremony is followed on the third child if the earlier two did not survive in delivery.
Saptha Kannikas worshipped Muruga:
The seven virgins (Saptha Kannikas) worshipped Muruga. While the idols of Saptha Kannikas are found only in Lord Shiva temple, they are installed on the banks of the spring in this temple too. The seven powers of Mother Parvathi are called Saptha Kannikas.
Place for Visakam Starrers:
Three herbal plants grew in this hill named Odavalli and Nalamoolika representing the powers of the stars Visaka, Kruthika and Uthara related to Lord Muruga worship. It is believed that the roots of these herbals were used and worshipped along with a Dhanakarshana Yantra for acquiring wealth. Though these herbals could not be identified now, it is certain that a positive change in the life of those visiting this temple is evident.
The V in Visagam means supremacy and Sagam means light. Visagam star has three lights in it called Vimala Sagam, Vibhava Sagam and Vipula Sagam. As all these three lights exist in this hill temple, Siddhas had said that Visakam starrers should worship in this temple for great benefits.
Agasthya worshipped Lord Muruga:
Lord Muruga gave darshan to sage Agasthiar at Thirumalai. Every day, sage Agasthiar who lived in Podhigai hills came to Thirumalai for worshipping Muruga. He formed a spring named poonchunai to perform Abisheka and he dug three pits in the name of Sun, Moon and fire on the spring. There will be always water in this pit. When the water level decreases it gets filled by rain. Everyday a flower (Kuvalaipoo) bloomed in this spring. The Sabdha Kannigar worshipped Lord Muruga by offering the flower.
Thiruvarutselvar Sivakami Ammaiyar:
Thiruvarutselvar Sivakami Ammaiyar, a devotee of Lord Thirumalai Kumaraswamy, was born in Neduvayal Achanputhur (near Panpozhil, on the Hanuman River) into a wealthy and benevolent family (her parents were Muthuswamy Thevar and Kulalvaimozhi) around 1784 and died in 1854, aged 70. Although she received no secondary education, she was known to read and write. Sivakami Ammaiyar married Kankamuthu, a philanthropic farmer and son of Sangamuthu and Uthamiammal, and lived a peaceful life.
Muthu, a devotee of Lord Annamalaiyar of Thiruvannamalai, and his wife helped their neighbors; for example, they built a bridge spanning the Hanuman River which is still known as Kankamuthu Bridge. Sivakami Ammaiyar and Kankamuthu treated all the peoples equally, employing Sangalimanadan (from a low-caste community). Since the couple was childless, so they treated all the village children as their own. They served many saints of all religions.
When a Muslim holy man named Walar Masthan visited their village, the couple called and told him of their childlessness. Walar Masthan is said to have replied, "I know your problems; you were not blessed by becoming a mother, but on the Thirumalai Murugan hilltop west of here is your family god. Go and serve him for the rest of your life". The couple was unsure what to do but Murugan appeared in a dream as a child to Sivakami Ammaiyar, telling them both to go to Vandadumpottal and build him a temple on the hilltop.
Sivakami Ammaiyar began building the temple, a difficult task due to the elevation; to raise the money needed, she sold all her property. She also sued against some in illegal possession of properties belonging to the Lord in Puliarai village in the Thiruvananthapuram court producing epigraphic evidences and recovered them. The copies of these epigraphic evidences are still available. As the lady spent all her life in the service of Lord Muruga, she was called Sivakami Paradesi.
The devotion of Sivakami Ammaiyar with steadfastness and determination carrying the stones for building the temple is a thrilling story. Elephants were used to carry stone pillars and beams to the top of the hill while building the temple. Those were the days when strong ropes were not available, they used ropes made of palm fibers and sometimes they gave in resulting in their rolling down.
When they were cut off and rolled down, it is said that an ascetic women, Sivakami Ammaiyar dared her life and stopped the stone with her head, crying Muruga, Muruga. Till the stones were pulled above, she would be holding them by the head with the power granted to her by Lord Muruga. She also carried bricks on plantain stem strips. There is an idol of Sivakami Ammaiyar in the temple.